It’s a short season, but one that many in New England enthusiastically embrace, whether on community plots, backyard gardens or on a commercial scale. And now, in addition to the usual challenges, there’s climate change with a longer growing season but also new floral and faunal pests, and the possibility of extreme weather.
Today the ground is covered with snow, but imagine if you will, a verdant community garden in late July, brimming with flowers and vegetables, happy neighbors kneeling cheek-to-cheek, shovel to shovel, baskets overflowing with greens and the late afternoon sun bathing the scene in gold. We interrupt that idyll to bring you “Thievery, Fraud, Fistfights and Weed: The Other Side of Community Gardens.” That’s the title of Jesse Hirsch’s article for Modern Farmer, where he’s a staff writer.
“Also known as Japanese horseradish or mooli, daikon looks like a bigger, uglier, knobbier parsnip and, if its flavor can be likened to anything, it is reminiscent of a finer, less fiery radish.”
- From the cookbookCooking Vegetables.
If you have a CSA subscription, chances are you have found a daikon radish in your share recently. Daikon radishes are a staple in Asian cuisine, the name daikon is actually Japanese for "great root." They're a prolific vegetable and can often grow up to 20" in length with a diameter of 4"! Recently, reporter Josh Rogers was the recipient of a rather large daikon radish, and asked: what do you do with this?
At farmer's markets, co-ops, and small local farms, heirloom tomatoes are becoming more common. They're older tomato breeds – some very old – that haven't been hybridized or genetically modified, and with seeds that can actually be planted to grow new tomatoes. A pair of young New Hampshire farmers wants to raise awareness that heirloom doesn't just mean tomatoes, and they've started what they say is the state's only all-heritage farm, River Round Heirloom, to prove it.
There is something mysterious about root vegetables…that show of budding, flowering and forming fruit… ripe for the plucking plays out underground. you see the leaves, and maybe the broad shoulders of a beet, but you don’t know what you’ve got until pulling it out of the ground. Once exposed, we know what to do with a potato or carrot, but little about the furtive burdock root, salsify or malanga. Diane Morgan digs deep into the secrets of this nutritious family of foods that are low in calories and easy on the wallet.
In 1968, L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, declared as the result of a scientific experiment an unusual and disturbing notion: that tomatoes scream when sliced. However strange his declaration may have seemed, Hubbard is in good company when it comes to prodding garden produce in search of an emotional response.